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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  July 17, 2009 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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as the health care fight heats up, my conversation with one of the key figures in the reform debate, senator chris dodd of connecticut. his thoughts on who will be covered, who will pay and the man who's been missing from the debate, ted kennedy. >> we need him, i guarantee if he had to crawl over broken glass, he'll be here. >> another fight ted kennedy would have been right in the middle of, the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor for supreme court justice. did her performance seal the deal with both democrats and some republicans? and tape from the times. an upclose look at one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. the search for explosive devices in afghanistan. welcome to the "new york times" hour here on msnbc. i'm john harwood of cnbc and "the new york times." >> i'm norah o'donnell and
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welcome to the "new york times special edition." on today's front page, house panels approve health plans. in both the house ways and means committee, they crossed party lines. this follows the approval of the plan earlier this week. the plan stands at 3-5. also, the energy and commerce committee in the house and senate finance are the two panels still left without a finished bill, promising progress by next week. >> it remains to be seen if health care will be a bipartisan bill. i sat down with senator chris dodd to talk about it. here's what he had to say. >> does it look clear to you at this point that this is in the end, going to be a democratic bill that goes through the reconciliation process? think it will be? >> not necessarily. we're sitting in a room here
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where a few weeks ago i got out the credit card bill. in a week or two, it passed 90-5. would i prefer bipartisan? you bet i would. but given the choice between a bipartisan bill that's weak and doesn't do much or one that gets more done, accessible, reduces cost, that's where i'm going. >> norah, a partisan national health reform bill. risky for the democrats? >> i think it is. we know they've got the votes in the senate, but if they can't convince republicans and this ends up like a big, bloated piece of legislation, the republicans are going to have an issue. >> and the democrats will own every piece of it. let's go on to the next conversation we had with chris dodd, which took place about the house provision, taxing employees. that is employer-provided,
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employers who don't provide health care for their workers. >> that's ridiculous. we did ours with a pay or play provision. 70% of employers employ less than 70 people. that, you can handle, in a sense. this level of tax we're talking about i think will be met with a lot of -- >> if you don't require businesses to cover, how do you get around that argument that businesses will develop you from their coverage because you can get on a government plan. >> the other point, if you don't get a lot of money from business, how do you pay for it? they've gotten in so much trouble in both chambers, i'm not sure that senator dodd isn't grinning whole. >> that's why these six
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democrats, hold on, this is tough work. >> exactly. and the cbo complaints about the lack of cost control made that more difficult. the other issue is ted kennedy. best legislator by the accounts of many over the last general r ration. what does that mean? >> you know him probably better than almost any other senator here. are we going to see him back here? how is he? >> i hope so. 6:30 yesterday morning, we were going to vote the final passage, 10:00. my phone rings, 6:00. the voice on the other end, so excited about the bill passing. last week, i lost a sibling of mine. first call i get of course is from teddy. a great conversation. so some days are better than others, so i never talked about
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the medical stuff. that relationship isn't that. i don't worry about what pills he's taken and what he's not taking, but he's struggling. i think if we need him down here, he can be here. if we need him, i guarantee if he had to crawl over broken glass, he'll be here. >> how does it feel for you, his friend to be carrying this forfor him? >> it's a great honor. sat next to him on the committee for 24 years and of course, we've been great friends over this time. i'd give anything in the world to have him here. >> you know, it was interesting, he got emotional with you, didn't he? >> he did. he's very close to ted kennedy. >> best friends for decades. >> they've been buddies in washington for a long time and
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the challenge of trying to deal with the absence of his friend, compensate for that. he's also moving financial regulation which means his plate is extra full. it's very challenging. one of the things they hope for is some emotional imtous to get this across the finish line. >> we're going to hear from president obama. he had a schedule, not a public schedule. he wasn't supposed to come out before cameras, but at 3:15, president obama's going to go before the cameras. he's going to talk about health care. they are trying to keep up the momentum. >> especially on cost control. >> we should bring in peter baker, white house correspondent for "the new york times." we just got that news in, the president going before the cameras. you heard john talk about that cost issue. is that what they're trying to push back on? >> i think it's a big deal. the comments by the director of the budget office yesterday, this plan does not control cost,
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but adds to cost. that undercuts president obama's argument that health care can be done over ten years without adding to the deficit. this is the biggest priority for the president even with the sonia sotomayor hearings. heath out there every day pretty much talking about health care because he feels strongly he wants to get it passed on both houses by the august recess. >> how big a blow do you think that testimony from the cbo director was? is that a, you know, there's so many committees working on this, it's a huge enterprise. is this just a bump in the road or a big deal that's going to cause conservative moderate democrats to say, stop this. >> what they're going to tell you i think is that the methodology of the cbo, they don't agree with. if the legislation is not finished yet, it's too hard to measure what affect it will have
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over the long-term. that idea that it won't control cost and will add to costs is going to stick in members heads until somebody convinces the public otherwise. >> you hear this news that it may not reduce costs over the long run from the cbo and then the news that there is going to be this tax on the wealthy. majority of americans support that, but let's look at the house plan. those making over $350,000, couple, they would pay more. how much pushback is the white house getting on this? >> well, you know, obviously, they would like to make the point this is a tax on people who make a lot of the money. president obama during the campaign last year never excluded the idea that there would be tax increases on the very wealthy. but critics are going to make the point that taxes are going up. not exactly who on, but that leaves a lot of voter to worry, if they're going to increase
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taxes at that level, who knows what level that might move it down to. it plays into a lot of the concern people have about how to pay for something so comprehensive and the breadth of this plan at a time when the economy is in trouble. >> there's no rest for the weary. they went into the week thinking they had a big challenge with sonia sotomayor. that went smoothly, now the storm on health care with the president coming out to address those issues. we'll have that live on msnbc. thanks for being with us. after four years of relative calm, deadly explosions rocked the heart of the capital. >> at least eight are dead.
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authorities say security prevented a car bombing which could have been deadlier. it is believed the bombs were smuggled into the hotels by registering as guests. next, a look at what "the new york times" top writers are writing. and hear what she has to say about the nominee ahead. plus, ross dowden says the pope is taking a little from the left and the right. this is "the new york times" special edition, only on msnbc. ♪ ♪ it's the credit roller coaster ♪ ♪ and as you can see it kinda bites! ♪ ♪ so sing the lyrics with me: ♪ when your debt goes up your score goes down ♪ ♪ when you pay a little off it goes the other way 'round ♪ ♪ it's just the same for everybody, every boy and girl ♪ ♪ the credit roller coaster makes you wanna hurl ♪ ♪ so throw your hands in the air, and wave 'em around ♪ ♪ like a wanna-be frat boy trying to get down ♪ ♪ then bring 'em right back to where your laptop's at... ♪
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now to some of the op-ed pieces from "the new york
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times." >> this first one deals with sonia sotomayor. maureen dowd explains why sotomayor was so cautious in responding this week. maureen dowd writes a writes a wise latina woman would more often than not know that the gaggle of white republican men afraid of extinction are out to trip her up. i think that's why she didn't go there on abortion, wise latina. >> these hearings were a lot about gender and ethnicity. not only because she made it an issue, but because of the make-up of the senate. that room, on the republican side, there are no women. there are two women on the democratic side and none of the committee any minorities. >> and they don't like the suggestions, that empathy rather than the so-called reality of the law. she kept saying over and over,
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no, no, my life experiences aren't going to shape what i do. >> and some thought that when lindsey graham used the word meltdown, that's referred to women and toddlers, except that sanford had a meltdown. interesting choice of words. the other interesting column -- what's up with the banks and the rest of the financial industries. he's talking about the obama administration's proposed consumer financial protection agency which banks and others want to squauch. he writes that an informed consumer, public enemy number one. the last thing they want is a fair marketplace, which is why the consumer financial protection agency can't come fast enough. >> this is one of the things that is very interesting. business has focused on that
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provision. when i talk to people in the white house, i think we're going to play this later, they say, are you kidding me. they're making that whether they're going to make their stand? >> most people want to know why they pay billions of dollars and yet know nothing about what they're signing. >> and "new york times" op-ed columnist takes on the pope's latest writings. he wrote about the pope's new incyclical that covers a range of issues. he writes benedicts incyclical is nothing if not political. it represents left-right fusionism. ross, tell me what you meant by that and is the pope really offering the third way for catholics around the world? >> well, he's offering a third
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way. i think something interesting happens when ever you get one of these. it gets read through american partisan politics. if the pope is writing about say abortion, all the conservative catholics say, you liberals, you need to pay attention to this. and the liberals say, oh, you know, it's nice, but of course this isn't a political document. the same thing happens in reverse when he's talking about economics. you saw it in this case where the liberals catholics were extolling the wisdom of the pope and john boehner put out a press release saying i really respect the pope and it's important to recognize this is not a political document. >> john boehner thought the pope was criticizing his view on economic policy? >> what he said was that liberal catholics are twisting the
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pope's words to make it sound like he's criticizing the republicans' position. it's always been clear that on issues ranging from the death penalty to the war in iraq that the vatican's perspective isn't the same as the american republican party. >> it's interesting that you wrote about this because as you point out, nobody was really paying attention because everybody was consumed with the funeral of michael jackson no doubt. but what about the pope and the vatican trying to be political? the pope met with president obama and handed him something that many people would say is very political. >> right. he handed him the vatican's latest document on bioethics, which covers everybody from abortion to issues like in vitro fert lization and so on.
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they're trying to handle the obama presidency with real fines finesse. he's popular with catholics. they're trying to emphasize issues like environment, but also being very careful to make it clear that there's a vast gulf between the democratic party and the vatican on issues like human life. >> all right, great to have you on. thanks so much. and now, we have some tape from "the new york times" right now. jim dow was embedded with the team in afghanistan. he was there when he learned that an ally of the army had been killed. >> i was with the team when an emergency call came in. an alley of the americans have
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been killed. >> not sure, it hit the truck, killed all five. he was one of those few good guys i was telling you about. he's done a lot of missions. >> now, more than 15 counter teams have been deployed to detonate bombs and collect evidence from bomb sites. >> what i've got the team leader doing, just one guy. he goes down, confirms site is clear. checks for secondaries. usually about 25 meters, but can be more than that. once he's completed that, we'll do a post-blast. we take soil samples and try to determine the type of device. >> the lieutenant says the ieds are getting deadlier, but the team continues their work and you can logon to
2:23 pm to see more of these videos. coming up, we learned just a short time ago, president obama will be talking health care less than an hour from now at the white house. we'll have it here live on msnbc. plus, "the new york times" brings you a unique view of how americans watched the historic landing on the moon 40 years ago this week. you're watching "the new york times" special edition right here on msnbc.
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in less than an hour, president barack obama is expected to make remarks on health care and you can watch that live here on msnbc. now it's time for what's fit to print. let's start with the story sure
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to generate some ad campaigns for people to get screened for cancer. health experts say that routine screening has not proven to reduce the death toll for people without specific symptoms or factors. it's a really interesting story. >> one of this thipgs that under scores why controlling cost is to difficult to do. here's another story. when do they need a fig leaf. it allows parents to let their kids run around naked during the summer months. the article quotes some parents thing it's very natural, others have horrors of it. one play date that ended badly. i'm not horrified by it, but i think i'd put shorts on. >> when they're getting out of the bathing suits, there's some
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kid with in clothes on that goes running out into the streets. it happens. >> here's another amazing item you can catch on the website. do you remember what you were doing 40 years ago? >> no. because i wasn't born yet. >> that is -- that was mean. okay, i remember 40 years ago this week, apollo 11 landed on the moon. in celebration, nasa just released this enhanced video of that landing and "the new york times" asked its readers to send in their stories of where they were. this picture from jill said we were married in san francisco. while we were in the receiving line to welcome our guests, they were in the hotel lobby watch tg moon landing. >> our next picture, ste fa in italy. he writes, i was six years old.
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>> this one, i was a young reporter who covered the launch. i photographed johnny carson and ed mcmayen. and ted kennedy has been absent from the day-to-day health care fight. that doesn't mean that he is not making his mark on the debate. plus, as details come out on the cia's secret program to kill top terrorists, many are calling for hearings, but would that benefit anybody? you have questions. who can give you the financial advice you need? where will you find the stability and resources to keep you ahead of this rapidly evolving world? these are tough questions. that's why we brought together two of the most powerful names in the industry. introducing morgan stanley smith barney. here to rethink wealth management. here to answer... your questions.
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we've all heard about the trouble in the housing industry. the fact is, with all the talk of a national real estate market, your town, your neighborhood, your home, or the home you'd like to buy, are each unique. the national conversation may not apply at all. if you've been worrying about what your property may be worth, or wondering if your dream home may finally be affordable, ask a re/max agent or go to nobody sells more real estate than re/max. here's what's happening right now. as we've been telling you, president obama will be speaking at the white house at 3:15 eastern time. he's going to be talking about health care.
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they just added this event, so obviously, they're trying to push this agenda for him. we'll have that for you live. also, protesters in iran squaring off in the streets of tehran today. witnesses outside the university say iranian police fired tear gas on tens of thousands of opposition supporters who are calling for president ahminedjad to step down. and the communications director for mark sanford has just said he's leaving. that's right. stepping down. joel sauer announcing he's going to pursue opportunities in the private sector. meantime, the state democrat says he plans to hold hearings into whether sanford spent state money on the trips with his mistress. now, it's time for the caucus with journalists from
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"the new york times." we've got mark, cheryl who covers the white house and also mark who covers national security. we'll be talking about sonia sotomayor, the health care debate and the secret cia program kept that congress. you heard that bite earlier. what does that mean for this process that kennedy's not here? >> what's striking about ted kennedy, he's obviously home on cape cod, recuperating from his very, very serious cancer. he is just, he's being envoeked left and right. the republicans use him as almost a weapon against democrats and say you know, if ted kennedy were here, this bill wouldn't be as partisan as it is. >> that's what i don't understand. his friend keeps saying it would
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be more bipartisan if he were here. >> he's also someone who can make deals. that's one of the reasons he's so popular. you have people on the left and right who will swear by him. >> you have great detail in your piece about how much kennedy can work at home. has he been in touch? if his friends called him and said, you've got to do this, he'd probably help them out. >> he has been much less in touch than over the winter. the party line over the winter was, he's working this, he's on the phones. he's watching cspan, reading his notes. i'm not hearing as much of that these days. but he has a very big emotional appeal and once they get closer to a bill, he could play in some legacy cards and get on the phone. >> speaking of that, i asked
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dodd this and he said if we need him, he'll crawl over broken glass. do you think we'll see him back here? >> i don't know, the most likely scenario from people who more likely know are saying if they need his vote, he will do anything if he's still breathing to get down here. it's one thing to be here for a vote, and one thing to be here in the crafting of legislation. >> we'll talk about sonia sotomayor in a moment, but cheryl, the president, we just got this information, the president going to be in the diplomatic room at the white house, 3:15. is this part of the white house trying to keep up the momentum? >> and part of the fightback on costs. the republicans are going to cite this report that the bill is going to cost more. the president wants to emphasize that we can have health care and cut costs at the same time and
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he is using his bully pulpit to make the case. >> this big stink bomb -- >> got away from them. >> this is do or die time for him. i think barack obama has in a way staked his presidency on this. it's his top domestic priority. he wants to get this done. the white house is almost in a motive, we want to get the bill no matter what the bill is. but they have to show it's going to control costs. >> another big issue, judge sonia sotomayor. pretty interesting. a couple of republicans saying today they're going to support her. interested in your thoughts on the historic nature of the hearings we saw this week and how the senators reacted to the fact she'll be the first hispanic and third woman. >> we haven't really come that far from the days of anita hill.
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all those panel members were white men, but it made it kind of hard for them to take on sonia sotomayor. they didn't want to be a bully, but the republicans wanted to make their case that she would be an activist judge. >> i want to ask, both you and norah, you may have a different trip wire than i do as a white guy myself on this issue, but there was some criticism of lindsey graham. i heard something that senators wouldn't have gone after a guy. i thought he was respectful and it was fine. >> my trip wire gets tripped pretty easily, but any way. there was much disputed story
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about that. is it a legitimate question? probably. would they have asked a man about that? it was at the center of the bork hearings. and you could argue, too, judge thomas, it was not about his opinions. it was about his behooifr. these are lifetime appointments so almost everything gets on the table. >> honestly, that didn't bother me because what we have in judge sotomayor is a tough woman and that's okay. it's okay to be a tough woman who engages in tough questions of lawyers. that's what you want. you want someone who is engaged and involved and hard-hitting. >> news flash. saying the sexism charge is bogus in this case. >> i was struck by the degree at which race came into this. the wise latina comment was brought up by at least a half a dozen republicans.
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and i was sort of struck by -- >> they kept beating a dead horse. >> that's what they thought they had to deal with. i don't think for a second they think they have the votes to overturn this. >> she was pretty effective in pairing. mark, we've got you in the washington bureau. let's talk about the cia program. i want to ask you about the column saying that a lot of people's hair was on fire for no reason on this story, that the cia is always creating plans that didn't get that far and people are overreacting. >> sure, there was a lot of the people saying that when the parameters came out, it was a program to assassinate al-qaeda leaders. there was reaction like duh, of course they're going to do that. what's the difference between using drones and using hit teams. i think the reaction from the hill, especially among the
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democrats and the house intelligence committee is if this was kept from the congress as it seems it was in part by vice president cheney, what else don't they know and so i think what we might see later today or next week is increased effort on the hill to start digging into the past. it was interesting because he's right, there is angst about looking into the past. about everything. and so you know, this is going to be something that is not going to go away. >> my understanding of teams to hunt down al-qaeda leaders usually contracted through military units. does the cia have jason borne-like figures? is that what this is? that they wanted to train people like the ones in movies?
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>> i think there was some of that and they ran into hurdles about how many they should train. should they be white? should they be of other decent? should they be middle eastern? should they look like people in middle eastern countries? where would they be based? these are questions they didn't quite figure out. >> so, mark, do we have jason borne-type people in the cia? >> right after 9/11, the cia sent teams into afghanistan, but they weren't necessarily assassination teams. they dropped in and were self-sufficient. carried very large guns and worked with local forces and special operations troops. so this is something that is not that surprising. in a way, it's a bit surprising they never developed this capability. >> thanks so much for being with
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us and mark, we'll try to figure out what's going to play you in the movie. more to come. >> we've got a lot of interesting stuff coming up. next, this tragic story and even more bizarre developments at every turn. we'll get the latest on the investigation of this florida couple. plus, energy, education, anything elt you want to take on, president obama? how's he doing and is it too much? more ahead. closeout is here; hurry to get the pontiac you want before they're gone. the price on the tag is the price you pay. get a 2009 pontiac vibe for $13,708 after all offers.
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obesity is particularly prevalent in southern states, topping 30% in alabama, mississippi, oklahoma, south carolina, tennessee and west virginia. obesity's a major risk factor for a variety of health problems. the funeral service for a slain florida couple taking place this afternoon in florida. >> byrd and melanie billings were shot during a robbery in their home last week. the couple had 17 children, 13 adopted and several with special needs. eight people have been arrested and there are new charges in the case. mark potter is live in pensacola. tell us about this huge outpouring of support today for the family. >> reporter: that's right. it happened here at the liberty church in pensacola. the funeral is over now. hundreds of people here were here to pay homage to byrd and
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melanie billings. this is the pamphlet handed out for the funeral. if you'll take a look at this, these are the kids left behind as a result of the killings of byrd and melanie billings, many of them young, many of them special needs, still in the house at the time of the shooting. they were here today at the funeral, those who could be. this is why there was such an outpouring of concern and outrage over this slaying. those children must now be cared for. they had a home, they had people who cared for them and they were killed. police say they were killed because the group of people decided to rob the house because of the safe. it was recovered and the attorney came here a while ago to tell us what was in the safe and she said that in the safe, there was no money. there were prescription drugs for the children, important family documents and some
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jewelry of sent mental value. not that the value of the safe would make the killings acceptable in any way, that's what they died for. >> this is the worst story. mark potter, thank you so much. and grim news about the number of americans out of work. 16 states now have an unplace of employment rate of 10%. michigan is at 15% because of the auto industry. the national rate is at 9.5%. and chock a holics, listen up. researchers have created chocolate with fewer calories and doesn't melt. the secret ingredients are being kept under lock and key.
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90% less calories, doesn't melt. sounds like it should be a paperweight. >> see that trash can? that's where it goes. here's more tape from the website, you've heard the old saying, you're better off not knowing how sausage laws are made. what about gyro cones? ever wondered how they make it into that shape? if you have, your lucky day. see for yourself at the world's largest manufacturer of gyros in chicago. >> the product is made from a combination of meats, beef and lamb specifically, and a number of other ingredients. big blocks of meat are ground. from there, they're blended together then all the ingredients go into it. the temperature drops and once it's mixed, then it goes on to
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the machine as you can see behind us. >> the frozen cones are then sent from chicago to the entire country. would you rather have a gyro or that chocolate? we've got more coming up next. tack at 53. i had felt fine. but turns out... my cholesterol and other risk factors... increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something. now, i trust my heart to lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol lowering medications, lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk... of heart attack, stroke, and certain kinds of heart surgeries... in patients with several common risk factors... or heart disease. lipitor has been extensively studied... with over 16 years of research. lipitor is not for everyone, including people with liver problems... and women who are nursing, pregnant,
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welcome back. >> it's time to take a peek inside "the new york times" magazine. the cover story, i was a baby bullemic. you might be surprised to see it was pinned by the former restaurant critic. why we must ration health care, peter talks about why it's not the way to go. >> that's one of big challenges.
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and then there's the essay called the shuffle president. here to talk about it is matt himself. this is a fascinating topic. you talk about the range of topics. when you raise a couple of challenges, one of which it becomes a -- they say well, you've got health care, what about energy. how much of a problem is this or is it a virtue? >> i don't think we know. there's a cultural shift reflected here. people in the early stages, which is you push one thing then another, is sort of out of the sync. you listen to your songs from all different sources. so the narrative arc is changed.
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now people skip around. he has a downloadable agenda. you don't have to follow from beginning to end. there are challenges to that and the question is can you get people focused enough on the policies because you see a difference and when you get credit, is it like a song, does it go in and out? >> is there a political advantage to not have people spend too much time focused on something? >> that's right. that is the big advantage here is that because they're doing a bunch of stuff, they've departed to do cap and trade. wall street regulation, a bunch of other things. if he doesn't get health care, there's a lot of other stuff on the table that doesn't feel like his entire presidency is in pirl. this would be a huge achievement and is anybody going to dwell on
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it long enough to register. >> and he's going to have to get judged by what this adds up to at the epd of four years. >> much less than four years. by the end of this year, maybe the full year to get a lot of this stuff done. there's a lot of skept. >> that's a fascinating piece. you can read the rest on sunday. i'm john harwood. that's it for this edition. >> and david schuster and tamron hall will pick things up, next. they'll bring you the latest from the white house and we'll have it for you live as he takes the podium at the white house. plus, south carolina's governor, mark sanford, just lost his spokesperson. the resignation comes weeks after the sex scandal broke.
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he says that had nothing to do with it. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics.
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